Ethnocentrism: Journal Article Critique

The article ‘Confronting My Own Ethnocentrism and Racism: A Process of Pain and Growth’ explains a white counselor’s journey to both cognitive and emotional change. The problems of racism and ethnocentrism are presented as a system that is deeply ingrained within the moral fabric of the society. They surpass the common manifestations of abusing or physically harming the minority groups. The writer narrates how he contemplated and identified he was a racist. He then goes through a rigorous process of change that almost turned sour when he became overzealous for the plight of the minority races at the expense of the White society. He retracted and endeavoured on a balanced approach to the problem. The results were satisfactory as he exorcized his racist and ethnocentric demons to become an ideal transformed individual. The ideas propagated in the article can be applied in the real world to solve the widespread problem of racism.

Journal Article Critique

Mark S. Kiselica is the author of this article. It can only be assumed that he is also the character in the writing since the first person point of view is used. The writer begins his article by introducing himself as a White and voicing out his fears; he feels he should not be sharing his painful experiences with the public. Nevertheless, he feels he needs to demystify the issues of ethnocentrism and racism instead of shying away. He points out several reasons that cause fellow Whites to shy from this issue including the guilt of how other races have been mistreated over the years and the fear of being accused of this mistreatment and being labeled a racist. The author grew up knowing he was neither racist not ethnocentric. He supports this claim by his support for Martin Luther King, Jr., the Democrats, and his abhorrence of the Ku Klux Klan. He also had several multiracial friends from his boyhood and was a non-violent individual.

The writer recounts being made aware of his racist and ethnocentric norms when he was 27 years old and preparing for his doctoral examinations in counseling psychology at The Pennsylvania State University. His interactions with one African American professor by the name Harold Cheatham catalyzed this realization. The professor had insisted that cross-cultural counseling is included as part of the examinations. The writer ended up bumping into Derald Wing Sue’s writings in a bid to prepare for the exams. It is these writings that aroused conflict within him. Sue’s books present racism and ethnocentrism as mental health systems that are responsible for the maltreatment of other non-White races. The literature pointed out the ethnocentric worldview of Whites and expounded on the socio-political aspects of counseling. The writer’s subsequent readings of this work started his process of identity contemplation.

The writer acknowledges his contribution to maintaining the status quo with overwhelming emotions. Some of his behaviors that supported ethnocentrism and racism include believing that hard work only would help ethnic minorities overcome their deplorable living conditions and actively participating in racist jokes together with his White friends. Moreover, his career plans were mainly centred on his White neighborhood. He then pointed out five factors that supported the criticism of his identity. These were: the oppression of other minority groups, the support received from minority races in his learning process, the writings of scholars like Wing Sue, the courage and examples set by great White men the likes of Judy Daniels, and his experiences counseling many people of color. This identity check led the writer to a point where he over-identified with the minority races. As a result, he became a nuisance to the White community and patronizing toward the ethnic minorities.

This behavior once again put the writer into a conversion experience in which he reflected on his attitudes and beliefs towards the White society. He accepted he was too harsh towards them and changed his approach to the whole situation. He acknowledged the existence of racism but estranging the White culture would not end up solving the matter. The Whites too had numerous positive qualities although some of them were racist and ethnocentric. The writer realized the need for a balanced approach in addressing the ethnocentric topic while upholding the dignity and good attributes of the White society.

Mark S. Kiselica’s article is a perfect fit for today’s society. Racist and ethnocentric demons have once again rattled the U.S. and South Africa, where it has turned into xenophobia, just to mention a few places. The age-old monster that was thought to have been deleted is still rearing its ugly head. This leaves people thinking why does racism look so invincible? Are the approaches aimed at correcting the issue outdated or just outright ineffective? The article ‘Confronting My Own Ethnocentrism and Racism: A Process of Pain and Growth’ provides a valuable answer to this question.

Reading through Kiselica’s article is both a learning and a shocking encounter. To begin with, the writer points out certain aspects of racism that the majority, including the media, are unaware of. Racism has most commonly been equated to physically mistreating and abusing the minority groups. However, the mental and status quo aspects have been altogether ignored. As such, the issue is much deeper than the physical manifestations we see. I agree with the writer that the whole system upon which our kids are brought up is flawed. A case in hand is Whites being brought up feeling privileged and entitled because of their color while the minorities knowing they have to work hard to compensate for their appearance. This head-start accorded because of appearance should be done away with. Even the Bible context disapproves favoritism due to color. Paul actually cautions the Jews in the Romans for feeling entitled to salvation because of their connection to Abraham. He states that all people regardless of appearance and genetic heritage have an equal opportunity at salvation.

The writer’s realization of a balanced approach towards addressing the racism and ethnocentric is very ingenious. The point is not to patronize the Whites since they also have many desirable attributes. The stereotypical thought that every White person is a racist should also be demystified in the minds of the minority groups. The problem of racism is a dual carriage matter that affects both the perpetrator and the victim. As such, I concur with the writer that the balanced approach should be adopted to bring all races together not physically but mentally and emotionally. The emotional and cognitive models articulated in the article should be widely taught in our schools to ensure that everyone gets a chance to contemplate their identity and start their journey to change.